NETFLIX. Help me with the math, please.

I’m not looking for opinions on NETFLIX, I’m satisfied with the service because of the convenience.
But I’m curious. I’ve been trying to figure out how much I’d be paying per movie if I watched every DVD as soon as it arrived, and returned it the next morning.
[li]Cost is $21.95/month for three movies “out” at a time.[/li][li]“Out” means between when they send , then receive them back.[/li][li]Turnaround (to me) seems to be about three days. Not bad.[/li][li]They send a new movie as soon as they get one back. I think.[/li][li]I never watch movies at the maximum rate, so I can’t calculate it that way.[/li][/ul]
So it’s all theoretical for me. I get screwed up around the weekends. I can calculate the cost to me, $2.43/DVD, but I wanna know what the maximum benefit (cheapest per DVD) could be. I’m sure they figured this out to set their prices. Does anyone watch every movie every night, and return it ASAP? Can any of the mathemaniacs on these boards just figure it out?

Doesn’t seem to be that hard.

Assuming a three day turnaround time (in mail, received, new one shipped) then you should theoretically be able to watch a new movie every day. That’s 30 movies per month or less than $1 per movie.

But that’s optimistic. Let’s say you half that and get to watch a new movie every OTHER day. That leads you to 15 movies per month. And that leads you to a cost of $1.46333 dollars per movie.

I have no idea what the current rate for renting DVDs is from a store but I feel relatively certain it’s above that.

Even at my lackadaisical movie-watching pace I get in 4-6 per month via Netflix (an average…I had ‘The Sting’ for more than a month before I got around to seeing it). Call if $5. That makes my cost $4.39 per movie. I can live with that. And the convenience is a real bonus.

I think you’re underestimating the turnaround time. First class mail typically takes two to three days each way, even if it’s just going accross town. Netflix has a warehouse in Queens, but my typical turnaround is about four to five days. Nonetheless, in a good month, I rent about a dozen DVDs.

Netflix has shipping warehouses in several spots throughout the country, to speed shipping.

I read an interview with the CEO saying that they start to lose money due to shipping on a customer if they ship more than 4 DVD’s/month. (That’s on the basic plan they have.)

Not that they won’t ship them, that’s just their cutoff point as far as profit goes.

Our turnaround is usually 3-4 days. We probably average about 6-7 movies a month. We have a six-year-old, so we usually have one “kid’s movie” at all times. We may keep that one for 3-4 weeks if he really enjoys it.

Doing the math, it works out to $3.13-$3.66 per movie. We could probably do slightly better at Blockbuster, but the convenience can’t be beat, and no video store can come close to the selection.

Plus, once you add in the late fees at the video store we are definitely saving money. Back when a video rental was for one day I never had a problem getting the movies back on time. But with 5 or 7 day rentals, I watch the movie and then figure I’ll wait a day or two to take it back when it’s convenient. I then promptly forget about it for at least a week.

I’m one of those customers, I guess, that Netflix is really happy to have. I have never gotten better than a 5-day turnaround with them. And since I only watch on weekends, it seems I hardly ever get a new movie exactly when I really want to see it. I’ve had the same three DVDs for over a month now, since I’ve been so busy at work, and haven’t yet had a chance to watch them. So, I’d definitely save money by canceling the service.

Except, I love the convenience, the ability to get less popular DVDs, and the fact that there are no late fees to worry about. Not to mention the fact that I’m a little too shy to rent things like “Queer as Folk” at Blockbuster.

Sorry, I just noticed this was GQ. Assuming a median 5-day turnaround, and that you watch and return each DVD immediately after receiving it, I’d say you have about 6 * 3 DVDs = 18 DVDs per month. So, that makes about $1.22 per movie. But, how many people really have the discipline to watch their 3 DVDs on such a tight schedule, and always mail them out the next day after viewing?

I just got a movie today to replace one that I returned on Tuesday. That’s 3 days, and I’m pretty sure it’s typical. The warehouse is in San Jose, about 40 miles away. I’ll pay more attention now to see for sure.
But like others have said, the draw is the convenience. Sometimes I C&P titles from review sites into the netflix searce box, read about it there, then order it if I decide I want it.
I was a member when the price was $19.95 and they raised it 2 bucks. I was pissed at first, but I haven’t cancelled.
I’d be interested to see how they manage all the coming and going. They can’t possibly hand pick all those DVDs and stuff the mailers.

Some people get their DVDs in the mail, make a copy with a DVD burner, and ship them all back the next day - watching the movie later. Obviously the same could be done with a local rental store.

This is a bit off-topic, but they probably actually make more money from these people than you would realize by just doing the math. People like this probably enjoy Netflix enough that they encourage their friends to subscribe, and many of those friends probably watch far less than 4 per month. They also say things like “I just got a couple new ones from Netflix, you want to come over and watch them?” which gets the company name out there.

beltbuckle, that’s not legal, right? So uh, Disclaimer: Please don’t encourage illegal behavior on the SDMB. Not that you were; you were just stating facts. But be careful the mods don’t misunderstand you. :wink:

No, it’s not legal. I am just stating that it happens. And no, I am not encouraging it.

I’m pretty new to Netflix, but so far the turnaround time is always 2 days. I count on getting the next movie 2 days after I dropped off the last one, even planning my evening around it. My friend who recommended Netflix also reported 2 days turnarounds. So I guess it depends on the postal service in your area.

If we return on Mon-Thur, a new disc is shipped the next day, a 48 hour turnaround. If we return on Fri or Sat, the disc is shipped on Mon. They don’t process on Saturdays in Orlando. We go through 15-25 movies/month.

After years of being screwed by Blockbuster with fees and general inconvenience, and no need for premium cable anymore, its paying for itself.

I don’t have a burner, and I’m not really interested in copying (I rarely re-watch movies), but I thought copying was legal as long as it was for personal use only?

With the 3 movie subscription, 2 or 3 day turnaround, probably the most you could do would be 6/wk. That’s 24/mo (close enough) or $0.91/DVD. A steal, IMO. But no way could I watch that many. Maybe, if I were married. :wink:

Only if you OWN the DVD. And lately, the whole idea of fair use is seeing some pretty sharp arguments from RIAA and the studios, so I can’t really tell you what’s legal and what isn’t anymore.

True enough, but the person can still only watch so many a month. Unless they’re just copying for the fun of it, or to satisfy some hoarding obsession, (or “sharing” a subscription with friends) eventually they’ll build up a backlog of copied-but-unwatched movies and their rental consumption will fall to an equilibrium level more-or-less in line with their actual viewings per month.

I’d bet Netflix has some kind of velocity monitor and if you were processing 3 per day every day month after month they’d decide you were up to no good and cut you off.

Not necessarily. A subscriber could simply be time-shifting. Perhaps they have the time to watch three movies a day on Saturday and Sunday, but only one every few days during the week. By using the illegal copying approach, they’ll be able to get their fill of six movies on the weekend (not otherwise possible with a basic Netflix subscription), without building up the backlog you warn about.

Personally, I get my flicks from the library and save $22 a month.

True, I failed to mentioned the slower turnaround on weekends.